Centre for Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir Studies facilitates projects intended for the betterment of the people of Jammu Kashmir.
1- WELFARE INITIATIVES
a. Flood-ravaged village adopted in Jammu region.
Unprecedented floods devastated large areas of Jammu Kashmir in September 2014. Massive relief measures were undertaken by the Centre and state governments and non-governmental organizations including Jammu Kashmir Study Centre. CLJKS had immediately organized an effective information centre for victims and their relatives across the globe, and also channelized relief material for the affected people.
Unfortunately, some flood-affected areas escaped the notice of the administration, particularly in the Jammu region, allegedly due to their terrain and distance. One such area is Seri Tanda in Reasi district in Jammu region.
CLJKS team visited this area to study the ground situation and found that many families had lost their houses in the floods and were still waiting for succour from the administration.
The village of Seri Tanda, located at the foothills, was virtually washed away in landslides triggered by floods. An overwhelming number of villagers were rendered homeless. Houses that weren’t destroyed in floods became too dangerous to live in due to recurrent landslides. The two rivers flowing alongside the village also make the situation precarious as both property and agricultural land can get submerged any time. The entire village has become unsafe. The affected people are living in miserable conditions, made worse due to the weather and terrain of the area.
CLJKS has decided to extend substantial support to the residents of Seri Tanda through a permanent rehabilitation plan. As a huge step in this direction, CLJKS is supporting the district administration to build the Seri Tanda village. Besides facilitating funds for house construction at an alternate site allotted by the administration, CLJKS has been collaborating with local NGOS to work collectively on building a community center and a school for children from affected families. The work is on in full swing and is expected to be completed in a few months.
CLJKS plans to adopt more such villages in Jammu Kashmir, to bring about much-needed sustainable development.
b. Tourism Promotion
Jammu Kashmir state is world-famous for its scenic beauty. Ever since ancient times, countless sonnets have been written on its natural beauty. Kashmir is known internationally as a ‘Paradise on Earth’. Unfortunately, other picturesque areas have not found their place on the tourism map, basically due to faulty administration and valley-centric policies. Numerous sites across the length and breadth of J&K such as Poonch, Rajouri, Kishtwar, Kupwara and Gurej are breathtakingly beautiful. But their abundant tourism potential is still lying untapped.
CLJKS organizes promotional activities to develop tourism here. We encourage tourists to visit these areas. We coordinate with tour operators across the nation to persuade vacationers to explore hitherto unknown areas of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. We are also engaging with tourism sector experts to develop the required infrastructure in these magnificently beautiful regions
2- Development Projects
a. Revival of Basoli Art
Basohli is a quaint and picturesque town situated in the mountains of Jammu’s Kathua district. In earlier times, it was the hub of art, handicraft and Ayurveda. However, it suffered complete neglect post Independence due to the complete apathy of successive state governments.
CLJKS has taken up the task of reviving Basohli’s heritage, in collaboration with a local NGO, Vishwasthali.
i. Basohli Painting: This art form belongs to the school of Pahari miniature painting that flourished during the late 17th and the 18th centuries, known for its bold but earthy colours and delicate strokes. These paintings primarily depict the Radha-Krishna and goddess themes. Since this art form uses actual rock colours, pure gold and very fine strokes, these paintings are much costlier than regular paintings.
Suffering from government apathy and lack of marketing avenues, this art form was virtually facing extinction. CLJKS has decided to support the local NGO to revive this art form. This project has already taken off. Training classes have started wherein youngsters are being trained by experts. Artists are being supported and new paintings will be given the required promotional platforms.
ii. Basohli Pashmina: Pashmina weavers used to be one of the most prosperous communities in Basohli till a few decades ago. However, the Basholi pashmina shawl is on the verge of extinction as traditional weaver families have been fast abandoning this art as it had become unsustainable.
CLJKS, in association with the local NGO, has launched the project to revive this traditional handicraft industry. Weavers are being supported and encouraged to create more designs with finer quality, so as to be able to compete in the shawl market.
Basohli pashmina will soon make its presence felt in the Indian as well as international market.
b. Ayurveda: Basohli town used to be famous for its Raj Vaidyas (royal Ayurveda doctors). The hilly terrain around Basohli is very fertile for various herbs. Unfortunately, over the years, lack of developmental focus has discouraged new generations to take up their forefathers’ expertise.
CLJKS has been promoting herb producers and Ayurveda proponents to focus in this area. It is also planning to promote the region’s herbal resources through seminars and conferences. The scenic beauty of Basohli also makes it an ideal location for herbal and nature cure centres.